The World At Your Fingertips

The setting of the highly recommended Jia Zhangke film The World 世界, World Park brings the world’s greatest monuments in miniature straight to residents without ever having to leave China. As even obtaining a passport is an excercise in bureaucracy, never mind trying to get tourist visas, it’s easy to see why World Park would be an appealing destination.

Although the movie presents World Park as a postmodern place that compresses space and time, symbolic of urban ennui and China’s struggle for identity, in real life World Park is kitschy as all out. World Park was also one of the three designated protest zones during the Olympics; most likely it was chosen because it’s not near anything except a lot of factories.

We finally made it to World Park on what turned out to be the coldest day in Beijing in years. The park was deserted other than a handful of foolhardy souls, with most of the concession stands closed as well.

It was that rarest of all rare things in China: an empty tourist attraction.

Tickets are a rather hefty 60 RMB, and that doesn’t include entrance to some of the other attractions inside. The best of these is undoubtedly this old Air China jet.

We took a lot of photos that juxtapose monuments with another one that is geographically nowhere near, except here at World Park.

Easter Island, just behind the Sydney Opera House.

 Or the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge heading straight for…the Grand Canyon!

Really, this never gets old.

There is also the occasional pirate ship, maybe this is supposed to represent Somalia now.

World Park also created unintentional controversy when pictures were shown of the Twin Towers still standing in the miniature of Lower Manhattan.

And where else will you get the chance to peer over the Coliseum?


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2 Comments on "The World At Your Fingertips"

  1. Grace
    16/01/2009 at 9:35 am Permalink

    Wow this is a great post. It makes me feel so happy and sad for China and for the Chinese people.

  2. Rebekah
    03/02/2009 at 10:51 am Permalink

    Great post! What a very strange place! I reposted the article on the travel forum of

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